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Homesteading with animals...post a pic!

Discussion in 'New Sufficient Self Member Introductions' started by Beekissed, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Jul 29, 2008
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I'm always interested in what animals people choose for their homestead, or farm, and why. Do you have animals that will contribute to the enterprise, pets, certain breeds that are suited for what you are trying to accomplish?

    I like to see what works and why. Dexter cattle..the pros and cons. A certain kind of goat over another kind and why? Did you learn this over a process of elimination or just drift into this kind of animal.

    Anyone making good money off their animals? Do you feel the money you make justifies the time and money spent on feed, vets, shelter, etc. ?

    Pics of your setup, your breed, your end product is a nice way of giving us all ideas for our own little slice of Heaven. C'mon, folks, tells us about your homestead animals. Don't forget the working homestead dog, cat, llama, donkey, etc.
     
  2. Jul 29, 2008
    MorelCabin

    MorelCabin Quilting Extraordinaire

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    [​IMG]

    I just have chickens because people wouldn't take to kindly around here to me having a farm on the lake. I am getting into barred rocks for thier egg meat attributes.
    It things ever get really rough I will add a milk goat or two.
     
  3. Jul 29, 2008
    BrookValley

    BrookValley Lovin' The Homestead

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    Now that the sun is out, I'll have to head outside with the camera! Though, I wouldn't say that any of my animals "work". :lol: But we have a lot of them. And if I were more organized at it, I could potentially break even--though I don't know as though I would ever make money, much less good money, on the animals I have now. I have too many pets--namely, the 6 horses--that would negate any profit I made from any of the others.

    I do breed a few different breeds of chickens, and I sold a good deal of eggs this past spring from my Polish. That helped to buy some feed, but certainly didn't make me any profit. After packing materials, trips to the post office, and shipping costs, I don't make too much on a set of eggs. But I enjoy doing it. It's fun to wrap up eggs and ship them off to all parts of the U.S. And I love it when people keep me updated on their hatches! Now, if I were more organized, I might be able to break even with the chickens. But I have my iron in too many fires. I have large fowl Polish, bantam Polish, Ameraucanas, and Cuckoo Marans...and I'm trying to start a line of white Marans. If I kept it down to just a breed or two, I wouldn't have so many young birds growing out here (translation--feeding all of these godzilla chicks for months on end!) trying to see who are the best birds to keep for breeding. That would keep my costs down a lot (I spend a lot of money feeding chickens, only to sell 90% of them in the end, because I don't want to sell chicks because I can't tell what kind of quality they are at that point) and I could probably do better with them financially--though I don't think I would ever turn a profit, but the hobby could at least pay for itself.

    We have Nigerian Dwarf goats, too. Now these guys make the most sense out of all my animals as real "homesteading" animals. I'll go snap some pics--I have a cranky toddler who needs to get outside ;) so I'll update my post about the goats later. :D

    ETA: Here are some pics of my goats and the farm.

    My first Nigerian doe, Rayna, who I was really hoping was pregnant but came back into season today--darnit!
    [​IMG]

    Honey, being shy as always:
    [​IMG]

    Roxy, Honey's daughter, playing on a tree we just had taken down:
    [​IMG]

    One of our goat sheds. This was actually built to be a hog shed by the original owners of the farm. I love it because the entire thing has a nice concrete floor--every couple of weeks I sweep it out, then hose the whole thing down to keep it nice and clean. The whole thing is attached to a very sturdily built paddock that opens up into a small pasture. I typically leave the gate open so the goats come and go as they please, and can graze/browse whenever they want. But I have the option of locking them up in the smaller area if I need to, such as if I want to rotate their pastures.
    [​IMG]

    A closer shot of the fencing that works best for us for the goats. Three boards of wood plank with 2" x 4" welded wire fencing attached to the inside--and then another wooden plank across the bottom. Four foot tall altogether (I'd probably have to have it a bit taller, maybe 5', if I had standard sized goats) Keeps he goats from pushing out underneath of the fence, and looks nice--if you're not too close. :lol: This fence is starting to look its age. We also have 5-strand high-tensile electric wire around the entire open areas of pasture, for the horses. My other goat pasture, the one attached to the shed in the previous pic, is done in this electric fence. It usually contains the goats, because the wires are close enough together--but it's not the best solution for them. It's just cheaper. This wooden fence/welded wire combination is really much better.
    [​IMG]

    A picture of some of my chicken breeding pens. They need some work, but so far they are working well. They are 8' long X 4' wide (each side) and 8' tall, with 1/4" hardware cloth all around. I like that I can easily walk into them, and that they are very spacious for the birds. I don't like that we have a lot of wasted vertical space--the next ones I make will be 6' tall. Still plenty of room for me and the chickens, but we'll save a bit on materials. You can kind of see a couple of my small "kindergarten" pens for chicks and growing birds on the left/foreground. Those are 4' x 4' boxes, 2' tall, also with hardware cloth. I have several of these, and they are quite handy. They make great brooders, too, and are easy to move around and clean. I use wood shavings (deep litter method in the larger pens) in all of my pens. These are in a very large equipment shed--we're in the process of cleaning a lot of junk out of it right now, and when we're finished I will have 2 full bays for chicken pens. My plan is to have 6 of these large breeding pens and room for several smaller pens.
    [​IMG]

    I'd show you some pictures of my barn but it's embarrassingly messy! :lol: We're planning a big barn clean up project for fall, once it's cooler and the wasps/hornets/bees aren't active (I'm highly allergic and we've got quite a few stinging critters living in the barn right now).
     
  4. Jul 29, 2008
    ticks

    ticks Hunting Crazy

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    Pheasant-Teen Pic
    [​IMG]

    Chickens-Pre-laying pic
    [​IMG]

    Ducks- Baby Pics
    [​IMG]

    I have the pheasant for decoration/meat/hunting

    Chickens duhh eggs

    ducks-Cause they were free. :lol:
     
  5. Jul 29, 2008
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Great pics, keep them coming! So, ticks, do you feel like your birds are paying for their own way or just breaking even? Will you eat your ducks? Is there a market for your pheasant at your local restaurants?

    Just trying to get feel for how other folks plan to incorporate their animals into income or food supply for the self-sufficiency slant.

    Would your animals become a source of food or barter in the event of a food/income crisis? Or a liability? Could you utilize them in other ways in this case? Would you? Would you have the working knowledge to..say, use your horses for working on your farm? Could you get the equipment or could you improvise in some way in order to use them?

    I read an article about people who train their goats and sheep to pull a cart and how their children used to deliver milk in these carts. Some folks use their dogs to pull carts or sleds for getting in wood or for packing into the wilderness.

    How many folks out there have dual purpose animals that are used for both purposes right now? Work horses that you also ride, anyone? Milk cows bred back to beef cattle or used to nurse bottle babies? Goats for milk that are bred back to a meat goat? Sheep for dairy that are bred back to market sheep?
     
  6. Jul 29, 2008
    ticks

    ticks Hunting Crazy

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    Well now, heres a secret
    (I haven't made any money off of them yet shhhhhh.)
    I will sell ducklings in the spring because everybody loves ducklings. I will have some mutt chicks.
    I will have pheasant chicks.
     
  7. Jul 29, 2008
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    And what will you do with all those chicks, tick? Keep them for stock, sell them? How much does this generate towards defraying the cost of their keep?

    I don't keep accurate records on feed vs. meat and egg production but plan to do so from now on. I am saving my feed receipts and any materials spent on pens, equipment, egg cartons, etc. and add up the expenses and profit at the end of this year and see if I am making a profit, breaking even or losing money.

    Of course, one can't put a monetary value on the feeling of well-being and peace that comes with the keeping and caring for animals but, if the aim is self-sufficiency, it is only good sense to not trade off the peace for the stress of trying to afford it!
     
  8. Jul 29, 2008
    ticks

    ticks Hunting Crazy

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    Black market ;)
     
  9. Jul 29, 2008
    enjoy the ride

    enjoy the ride Sufficient Life

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    I raise goats- only 2-3 does. They are Boers. The girls are for weed eating and making kids for meat.
    I have had two heavy doeling years in a row but luckily for me one of my goats is much admired and I have been able to trade every doeling for bucklings so I have yet to have to send a doeling off for meat.
    I don't know if it is cost effective but I know where these animals are raise- they have good, healthy lives til the end.

    This is Tmber and this years doelings-
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jul 29, 2008
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Beautiful goats and a wonderful pic! Now, do you eat your bucklings or just sell them at market? Is this why you chose the Boer breed, to sell the whethers at market? Do you also milk these goats?

    :D Not nosey, really....

    Just gleaning info, folks, for those of us who are trying to decide on what kind and how many of any certain animal to add to our homestead. Its always nice to read first hand experience in these situations.
     

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